AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 1, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s six-game Heartland Conference winning streak ended Saturday afternoon, felled by a strong shooting performance by St. Edward’s (Texas).
The Hilltoppers shot 47.6 percent from the field – including 62.1 percent in the second half – rallying from a six-point halftime deficit to build a double-digit lead before holding off a late charge by OC to win 78-72 at the Recreation and Convocation Center.
OC (11-8, 7-5 Heartland) could have moved into a tie for third place in the league standings with a win and appeared on its way to a sixth straight overall win, but St. Edward’s (13-5, 8-4) seized control of the game with a 13-4 run early in the second half.
Maddie Wheeler (25 points) and Mileka Loydrake (19 points) led the Hilltoppers’ charge in the second half, more than offsetting the fact OC had four players reach double figures in points, led by Sydney Hill (20 points).
“We played great defensively the first half, but then had a few breakdowns in the second half when they knocked down shots and were able to get on a roll, while we were going cold on our end,” OC coach Stephanie Findley said. “We did a good job of fighting back in spite of a couple of timely bad-luck calls, but had too big of a hole to climb out of and ran out of time.”
OC led 33-27 at half and, even after the initial run by the Hilltoppers, rallied to go back ahead 45-44 with 13:05 left after two free throws by Logan McKee. Loydrake hit two free throws 11 seconds later to put St. Edward’s back ahead.
The Lady Eagles were within 56-53 after McKenzie Stanford’s jumper 8:09 left, but St. Edward’s went on a 10-2 run to build a 66-55 lead with 5:27 left.
McKee hit three 3-pointers in the final five minutes as OC rallied. Twice the Lady Eagles pulled within four points, the latter time on McKee’s final 3-pointer, which made it 76-72 with 26 seconds left. Wheeler hit two free throws with 15 seconds left and OC missed three shots at the other end in the final moments.
Stanford finished with 12 points for OC, which shot 35.8 percent from the field. McKee added 11 points and Jordan Gorham came off the bench to score a career-high 11 points. Roz Hamilton had six points and posted her third straight double-digit rebounding game with 10 boards, helping OC win that battle 43-39.
OC hadn’t lost to a Heartland foe since dropping a 59-55 decision at Arkansas-Fort Smith on Jan. 2 and hadn’t lost to anyone since Washburn (Kan.) beat the visiting Lady Eagles 79-66 on Jan. 9.
The Lady Eagles will return to the road for two games next week – Thursday at Texas-Permian Basin and Saturday at league-leading Lubbock Christian (Texas).